‘I am sorry for the trees being hurt’
has been sent $1500 and a note confessing to the poisoning of three po¯hutukawa trees at a north Auckland beach, after publishing a story on the sabotage.
The story was published on October 15 and, two weeks later, the reporter received an envelope containing a scrapbook with $1500 worth of $50 notes stapled to its pages. An anonymous note inside said a family member was responsible for poisoning the trees.
‘‘When we read your sad newspaper [article], we knew who from our family [had poisoned the trees]. We found the tools in our shed. I am sorry for the trees being hurt.’’
The family gathered money to put towards the trees’ recovery. ‘‘We are very sorry this has happened to the nice people of Arkles Bay. May God bless and help the trees. From our sorry and sad family.’’
Waitemata¯ police Sergeant Steve Perry said a forensic analysis of the scrapbook and cash failed to produce any leads.
After the police released the $1500 back to Stuff, it was decided to put the money towards Project Crimson’s Trees That Count project, which funds tree planting.
Trees That Count community engagement officer Emma Giesen identified Rodney local group Pakiri Community Landscape Group to receive the funding, as it successfully applied for and planted 500 native trees in 2018.
The funds will supply the group with about 150 native trees.
Auckland Council’s Agnes McCormack said the two larger po¯hutukawa trees had retained some limited live growth, but the smaller of the three trees was not expected to survive.
Meanwhile, at least four trees lining the reserve at Opito Bay, in the Kerikeri Inlet, have had holes drilled into them with poison poured into the root system.
Former Far North mayor and local resident Yvonne Sharp said it would be very sad to see the native trees turn to skeletons. Sharp’s grandfather Ralph Rowsell bought the peninsula and along with the family planted the po¯ hutukawa in the early 1970s.
The trees had provided generations of families with shade and protected the edge of the bank from erosion, Sharp said. She wouldn’t speculate on who might have poisoned the trees or why but said people were suggesting the trees might have been poisoned by those whose view is impacted.
Po¯ hutukawa have also been poisoned at Opito Bay, with a resident putting up a protest sign.